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20121129
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that getting into the energy business doesn't mean the company is turning its back on mining. under the deal, freeport will pay $6.9 billion for plains exploration and production and $2.1 billion for mcmoran exploration, a sister company it was separated from a couple of decades ago. the deal would also leave freeport with $20 billion of debt. freeport executives say getting into oil and natural gas would help diversify the company and keep more of its assets in north america, where there's a huge shale gas boom. they estimate by next year freeport will derive a little more than a quarter of its profits from energy and the rest from mining, versus 100% from mining today. the company says it thinks demand for commodities, especially energy, will continue to grow. that could help offset the increased difficulty mining companies are having trying to find new projects in regions outside the u.s. and with interest rates currently at historic lows, the timing was right to ink the two deals. diane eastabrook, "n.b.r.," chicago. >> tom: daniel rohr is a metals and mining analyst from morningstar and
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